Keith knocked another project off that todo list.

Instead of thick, bulky wooden planks mounted to the stanchions to tie the jerry cans to, he made sleek ones from stainless. He welded together a few left over short pieces of tubing for the bar and used fittings that he picked up at one of the marine flea markets for $20.00 (for all of them-another Keith score).

He expected it to take about an hour, minus the welding. A day in a half, three hardware store runs, and two tap bits later… Well, at least it looks great.

I finished up sewing the covers for the jerry cans. 4 gasoline and 5 diesel. Not exactly a clear deck, but at least it’s organized.

Two projects checked off in one post. Woohoo.



We can now enjoy a rainproof, bug proof cockpit! I finished installing the full enclosure this morning.

As It turns out procrastination can be beneficial. I started planning this project in January, but got sidetracked with the haul out and never got it going. In the meantime, I dicovered that Sailrite had recently released a new instructional DVD Make Your Own Full Boat Enclosure. Having had great success with their Dodger DVD, I purchased it but couldn’t imagine how the video could cover such a complex and highly custom project. Turns out, they do an excellent job. The DVD gives complete instructions for three different window options to choose from: just glass, glass with permanent screens, and glass with removable screens.

In the end I went with a fourth option. Inspired by the removable screens option, I wanted to not only have the screens attached to the glass panels, but be able to be used on their own-without the glass panels attached. So I watched and rewatched the DVD until I was able to design what I had envisioned. I am pretty thrilled with the final result.

I love the way the perpendicular zippers are installed- the binding covers and protects the entire zipper-front, back, teeth. Zippers are pretty much the first thing to be eaten by the sun and with about fifty of them, yes fifty, I like that they are pretty much invisible to the sun.












Seeing Double

Stitched up two little generator covers today. Yes, two. Why two? Because we have two generators. Why two? Well, probably for the same reason we have two dinghys, two kayaks, two outboards, two propane tanks, two chartplotters, two VHFs……. You see, we are actually pretty simplistic when it comes to things we feel we want aboard. The problem, however, is when we do actually decide to make a purchase. The logic goes something like this: “if it is important enough to commit to one, we must need another”. Flawed, I know. But I can explain…..

Two generators because one is tiny and old, a Honda 1000. In case it does not make it, we bought the new Honda 2000. So why not just take the 2000? Because the 1000 gets better fuel economy-and what happens if the 2000 breaks?

Two dinghys because we are a multi-vehicle family. Period. Not up for debate. We have learned the hard way. While one of us is out running about in the dink (Keith), the other becomes abandoned, agitated, and angry (Deborah).Two dinghys to keep the peace. And just in case we lose one.

Two outboards because, well, one for each dink. A big one for serious hauls to dive sites, town, and neighboring islands. A small one for running to the neighboring boat at cocktail hour without using up our entire cruising kitty the first year on gasoline.

Two kayaks because sometimes you want to share the exploring. Although, we would love to switch these out for two paddle boards. Budget is not allowing, though.

Two chartplotters because, to be honest, we found an identical one on craigslist for a crazy good price. We already had a back up GPS, but it is an important piece of equipment, so two. We leave the backup completely unhooked I case of lighting strike. Plus, only one set of electronic charts if we do have to swap it out.

Two propane tanks because the original itsy bitsy three pound tank wasn’t going to handle all the bread making, grilling, and fish frying I am looking forward to. So, two twenty pound tanks and one happy galley.

But to our credit, we have shown restraint in some areas. We still only have one hull 🙂


Sewing, stowing, and solar

We have had a lot on the table the last few weeks.

Keith is busy installing the solar panels. He has the controller in and two of the anticipated three solar panels mounted. He designed a nifty way to mount two of them on the stern side rails. When he gets everything done, I will take some photos. He just needs to actually connect the panels to the controller/batteries. …..and buy and install the third panel.

I finished up the last enclosure panel today. Yippee! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to install all the panels because of the rain. So close to being crossed off the list. I have been sewing as furiously as I can because I need to sell my big sewing machine before we give up the apartment and it just makes things so much easier. Plus, I won’t have a hall way to roll out a few yards of fabric once we are aboard. Sew, sew, sew….. up next generator, engine and propane tank covers.

Between projects we have officially started moving aboard. I have the galley, nav station, the head, and my art supplies (minus my sewing supplies) aboard.





Ok, I’m all recouped from the haul-out and back to working on our to-do list.

This week I stitched up and installed the new dodger. The old one was only a few years old but the thread had completely given out so this time around I used Helios 100% PTFE thread. It has a lifetime guarantee and will last longer than the fabric. For the window, I chose the .40 gauge Strataglass and Sunbrella fabric.

Like the last one, I used SailritesMake Your Own Dodger DVD. They have done an amazing job with the instructional video. How they manage to break down such a complex and custom project into an easy-to-follow step-by-step “recipe” basically is quite amazing. Here is how it went:

Step 1:
Watch DVD

Step 2:
Use dura-skrim and double-sided tape to pattern the dodger. The instructions show exactly how to draw the pattern and what and where to mark the pattern so that it will make sense once back in the sewing room. Once this step is done all of the “thinking” and “figuring” is done. From here on out it was just like following a recipe.



Step 3:
Trace patterns on to sunbrella and cut out all pattern pieces. (My hurricane stash of canned chicken worked great as pattern weights!)

Step 4:
Use double-sided tape to bind the pattern pieces together.

Step 5:
Sew it up. The DVD tells exactly how to line the pieces up and in what order to sew each piece. It shows each and every step from start to finish.



Step 5:
Install and smile at all the money I saved! Actually, I have a few finishing touches to finish up tomorrow, but I am proudly checking this one off the list.





Notes to self for next time:
1. This is not a two day project. Plan on at least four full days.
2. This is not a solo project. You will need Keith’s help for several steps.
3. The window zippers and straps are a major part of this project and the most difficult part to get through the sewing machine.
4. Pattern the side panels when patterning the rest of the dodger-it was easier this way.
5. Consider changing from a tucked rain tail at the rear of the dodger to a hanging.

Next up….. the Bimini and the full glass and mosquito screen enclosure.

Update: enclosure project is complete-click here to see.

Going Backwards

Our recently calculated need to complete an average of 4 projects per week was met with despairing results this week.

The good news first-we did get one item off the list. Keith found and bought 198 feet of 3/4 ” New England anchor line off of craigslist. It was new and still on the spool for less than $1.00 a foot. It is for our third anchor.

Unfortunately, we also added two items to the list-1) install a blower fan in the engine room 2) redesign the access to the electrical panel.

Then, and here is where it gets ugly, the enclosure project that I started last week snowballed out of control. It started out as making curtains on the bimini to keep out the rain. Big project, but manageable. I began by designing where all the curtains should attach, which lead to the realization that I was going to have to do some pretty major adjustments to the dodger design. While looking at the dodger modifications, I made the very disappointing discovery that all (ALL) of the thread has disintegrated and everything has to be completely restitched. Noting that I need to redesign and restitch the dodger, I concluded that I might as well replace the faded and scratched eisenglass too. By Saturday evening the project had morphed into making a completely new bimini, dodger, and enclosure.

I spent the rest of the night and Sunday making a meticulous supply list, sourcing/pricing products, and turning our one bedroom apartment into a fully functioning canvas workshop complete with three sewing machines. I was completely prepped to begin my project.

Then, just as I had finished, Keith comes up to me and says “I think we should build a hard top”……….And so began the brainstorming and sketching for a hardtop project.

Whichever way we go, we have added a lot of time consuming work for ourselves. My head hurts.

Here are pictures of the dodger/bimini I made (the one that needs remade) vs.a rough sketch of a hardtop option. Decisions, decisions………